So You want to be a Writer Kid #1.01

So there are thousands out there wanting to be a writer, and the fact is very few can make something out of it. So why not you? If you want to make it, you have to practice at being different. When writing its easy to go to the stereotypes and the same old story, most of the time you don’t even realise that is what you have done. So what is the point of this blog series? I want to share everything I have learned from screenwriting and watching the greats strut their stuff. Surprisingly there is a lot to learn from watching other people, the trick is teaching yourself how to put it into practice, that’s where I come in.

BAM! said the lady, another best seller for me

For a market that is constantly losing its viewing to the internet, there is an popular trend of enhancing your content by creating it in several different mediums and in doing so, giving something to your already dedicated audience as well as possibly attracting a new audience. The television show ‘Castle’ has done an incredible job of transforming itself from a single story into transmedia storytelling, meaning that instead of focusing on one platform fans of  castle now have a universe to explore.

Promo - Season 5

For those who aren’t familiar with ‘Castle’ let me give you the run down. Richard castle is a famous murder mystery novelist who has just killed off his character ‘Derrick Storm’ and is searching for a new character to base his next set of books on. Detective Kate Beckett is investigating a string of murders that greatly resemble the way Castle killed some of his characters in his book. Long story short, Castle ends up basing his next character on Detective Beckett and shadows her cases…Ta Da we have a cop show.

But what is so special about this show? Andrew Marlowe has created a show that is not restricted within the television format. ABC has actually created the novels Castle writes in the show. ‘Heat Wave‘, ‘Naked Heat‘, ‘Heat Rises‘, ‘Frozen Heat‘ and the newest novel to come out later this year ‘Deadly heat‘ are all novels about Beckett’s persona ‘Detective Nikki Heat’ which the audience can actually buy and read. The brilliance of this is that in the books Castle and Beckett’s personas are together (Jameson Rook and Nikki Heat) while on the show they were still doing the romantic dance all shows do with their leads. This meant the fans were getting the best of both worlds which has only increased its popularity and dedicated fan base.  Not only have ABC created the Nikki heat novels, but they have also fleshed out Castle’s previous novels about Derrick Storm and turned them into graphic novels: ‘Deadly storm‘, ‘Storm season‘ and ‘A calm before the storm‘; as well as creating ‘Storm Front’ into a novel. Surprisingly the books are having phenomenal real world success:

The Nikki Heat series is no stranger to the New York Times Best Seller list; the first novel, Heat Wave, debuted at #26, while the second, Naked Heat, debuted at #7. With Heat Rises debuting at #1, it only solidifies proof of Castle’s success in both television and fiction. – The Examiner

This year ABC took it one step further by creating a board game and trading cards. They have even created castles own brand of coffee (for the fans of the show, that is possibly one of the most exciting creations for the castle universe) with flavours like ‘Brewing storm’ and ‘writer’s roast’.

What was once just a television show is now several series of novels and graphic novels, board games, playing cards, calendars, coffee and an increasing amount of merchandise. With multiple fan made merchandise and websites like castletv.net and castle-fans.org (which are run by fans of the show) as well as a growing library of fan written castle fan fictions. The fans have been given a world to explore and a story that is not limited to one platform.

Shelf it….should books have classifications?

film and literature

It’s a question I have been wondering for a long time, should books have classifications? Movies do, television shows do, even websites are starting to provide a rating, whether or not they stick to that rating is another issue…But why don’t books have to?

The former Office of Film and Literature Classification (the OFLC) ceased to exist when new administrative arrangements came into force on 1 July 2007. The policy and operational functions of the OFLC were transferred to the Attorney-General’s Department. Decisions are still made by the Classification Board, and reviews of decisions are still made by the Classification Review Board.[1]

Case One: The Hunger GamesThe hunger games

Before I go any further, for the record I love the hunger games, they are amazing books that have managed to recreate the end of the world/ rebellion genre. That being said the books are considered quite graphically violent in relation to children killing children. for its 17+ audience reading this book, this level of violence is easily handled. But for the younger violence, particularly readers that are a little bit more sensitive, this book could be concerning for the parents. For a parent buying books for their children, reading the title of the book you wouldn’t be aware of the details of the book. While I was growing up my parents had said that their were certain books I wasn’t allowed to read. They always said to me that there were so many books in the world I can read, I don’t have to read those ones. but how did they know what was in those books, largely it was due to my siblings and what their friends told them about the books. what if a parent doesn’t have that, would classifications help?

Case two: 50 shades of grey

50 shades of greyThe book series 50 shades of grey spent at least 50 weeks on the bestseller list. Walking into my local dymocks at the start of its reign i saw it there and wanted to read it to find out what it was about.Personally I will read a book because of its title and cover, I very rarely read the blurb on the back, in-fact i don’t know a lot of people in my age group that do read the backs of books. A greater number of book audiences will read a book because a friend recommended it or by it’s reputation. I was already buying two other books so I decided to leave it for a week. When I went back to school I joined a conversation about the book simply saying I wanted to read it, everyone looked at me weirdly before they explained what the book was about. I had no idea what the book was about, only that it was a best seller.

Now…what was the point of that rant… luckily I hadn’t bought the book before I actually heard everything about it, but what if I had been younger than what i was and had bought that book? Granted I should have read the back, but even then, the blurbs are meant to entice the audience not tell them everything that is going to be in the novel. Especially for parents who are concerned with what their kids are exposing themselves to, knowing what their kids are actually reading as well as what knowing what you are buying is important for today’s consumers. to be honest having classifieds wont stop kids from reading these kinds of books if they dont want to but it is still important to have the option there if they want it, even if the classifieds were just listed online for books.

Australian Classification